GloFo sells MEMS business, fab to Taiwan's Vanguard

January 31, 2019 // By Peter Clarke
Vanguard International Semiconductor Corp. (Hsinchu, Taiwan) has agreed to buy Fab 3E in Singapore from Globalfoundries Inc. (Santa Clara, Calif.) for US$236 million. The deal is due to complete on the last day of 2019.

Vanguard was established in 1994 as a DRAM manufacturer but evolved to become a pure-play mixed-signal foundry in 2004. It operates three 200mm wafer fabs and manufactures high voltage, BCD, discrete transistors, logic, mixed-signal, analog and embedded memory circuits.

The agreement for Vanguard to acquire Fab 3E in Tampines, Singapore, includes buildings, facilities, and equipment and intellectual property associated with Globalfoundries' MEMS business. Fab 3E has a manufacturing capacity of 35,000 wafer starts per month. Vanguard has agreed to make employment offers to all those currently working at the fab with the intention to ensure no disruption to customers whose products are being manufactured there.

"This transaction is part of our strategy to streamline our global manufacturing footprint and increase our focus in Singapore on technologies where we have clear differentiation such as RF, embedded memory and advanced analog features," said Tom Caulfield, CEO of Globalfoundries in a statement. "Consolidating our 200mm operations in Singapore into one campus will also help reduce our operating costs by leveraging the scale of our gigafab facility in Woodlands," he added.

Globalfoundries is owned by Mubadala Investment Co., a sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dhabi, but has recently had to re-assess its business model opting to stop trying to compete at the leading-edge of semiconductor manufacturing (see GloFo rethinks its future, drops 7nm FinFET and Globalfoundries cutting 5% of staff). The latest move shows that the company is also choosing to simplify its More-than-Moore manufacturing portfolio.

Vesper Technologies Inc. (Boston, Mass.), a piezoelectric microphone company, is one of Globalfoundries MEMS customers. Although Globalfoundries could install MEMS manufacturing processes at Woodlands the tone of Caulfield's remarks would appear to make that unlikely and so the fab sales would effectively mark Globalfoundries exit from the MEMS business.

Globalfoundries' multiple wafer fabs in Singapore were acquired when the company acquired Chartered Semiconductor in January 2010.

Related links and articles:

www.globalfoundries.com

www.vis.com.tw

News articles:

GloFo rethinks its future, drops 7nm FinFET

Analysis: Outpaced by TSMC, GloFo cuts its cloth

AMS opens Singapore site under $200 million plan


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